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Sloppy Bruins hope win gets them back on track

1/3/2003

SEATTLE (AP) -- Steve Lavin got the better of his "older
brother.''

T.J. Cummings scored 16 points, Jason Kapono added 15 and Andre Patterson had 12 points and 12 rebounds as UCLA beat Washington 77-67 on Thursday night in a sloppy Pac-10 opener for both schools.

It was a reunion for Lavin, the Bruins' coach, and Washington's
Lorenzo Romar. They were assistants under Jim Harrick on the UCLA
team that won the 1995 national title, and Huskies assistant
Cameron Dollar played on that squad.

"I have a lot of respect and admiration for Lorenzo,'' Lavin
said. "He's a builder and he's a master teacher. I was fortunate
to work with him because he's like an older brother to me.''

Said Romar: "We have a great relationship, a lot of laughs.''

Dijon Thompson returned from a one-game absence because of a
swollen knee to score 14 points for the Bruins (3-5), who snapped a
three-game losing streak. UCLA survived a season-high 29 turnovers.

"It wasn't a very well-played game,'' Lavin said. "It was sloppy. There were some Keystone Kops and Three Stooges sequences, but you'd rather be lucky than unlucky and you'd rather win than lose.''

Curtis Allen led Washington (5-5) with 17 points while Doug Wrenn scored 14, but the Huskies missed 6-foot-9 forward Jeffrey Day, who was suspended indefinitely last week after being declared academically ineligible.

The Bruins limited Washington to 2-of-12 shooting from 3-point
range and outrebounded the Huskies 44-30.

"We have to do a better job,'' Romar said. "We didn't shoot
good and we were 23-of-34 from the line. I thought we were
aggressive tonight but we just didn't get the job done.''

The Bruins struggled against Washington's fullcourt press but
finally took control in the second half.

UCLA led 47-45 with 14 minutes remaining when Kapono and
Thompson hit consecutive 3-pointers. Thompson scored twice in a 8-0
burst that made it 61-46 with 9:20 to go.

The Huskies never quit, though, cutting the margin to 69-63 on
Nate Robinson's 3-pointer from the left corner with 3:03 on the
clock. Thompson answered with a jumper and Cummings made two free
throws to put the Bruins back up 73-63.

"We knew we could play with these guys, but they went on a
little run and we kept turning it over,'' Allen said.

The Huskies were abysmal from the floor early. They missed 12 of
their first 15 shots and hit 24 percent (8-of-33) through the
opening 20 minutes but trailed only 37-29 at the break.

"I don't think we played real smart but we battled,'' Romar
said. "They used their size to get to our shooters.''

Romar went to a fullcourt press late in the half, and it helped
Washington to a 12-2 run over the final five minutes. The Huskies
scored 11 in a row at one point, and the crowd got excited after
Robinson's steal led to a dunk by Bobby Jones.

"The press worked,'' Allen said. "We're so quick that we can
cover a lot of ground.''

UCLA, the only Pac-10 school with a losing nonconference record,
was off to its worst start since opening 2-5 in 1984-85.

"We competed hard even though there were tough stretches and Washington made some runs at us,'' Lavin said. "That's something we can build on. When you've struggled the way we have, there are baby steps you're looking for.''